Sperm whale explodes here in the Faroe Islands


hvalur-eksploderarSo you might have seen this video that went viral this week, now at 1.9 million views since the incident Tuesday 26 November.

(Warning, very graphic, as in exploding intestines)

The background story is that 4 sperm whales got stuck near the bridge between our two biggest islands, here in the Faroe Islands, Thursday 21 November.


(Map courtesy of Wikimedia Commons / Oona Räisänen (Mysid))

At least two were beached, and one of them hurt so badly that it bled from hitting the bridge fenders, when taken by the always violent current that goes past there and names the area “Við Streymin” (By The Stream).

See this segment from our national broadcasting company Kringvarp Føroya

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 9.03.05 PM


The experts said that there was nothing that could be done, except wait for them to either get away or die. It was discussed if the beached and struggling ones could be euthanized, but apparently that is even more difficult than normal, once they are beached.


(Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Me and colleagues discussed taking our kids to see the whales, which is only 20 minutes by cars, but life is busy, the days really short by now, and the weather miserable.

By Friday, two of them had left, one had died and one was struggling, only to die a day or so later. Sorry about those scuba divers choosing to ride on it.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 9.10.06 PM


On Monday, it was announced that they would haul one of the whales to a nearby, defunct whaling station, to be flensed on Tuesday at 10 AM. The idea was (and is) to strip the flesh off the bones, sink them to rot clean for about 6 months, and then take them up to piece together again.

By now I was quite eager to go and watch with our youngest, as my father took me and my brother back in the early eighties, just before the whaling station was shut down. I discussed it with my wife, but we were both busy at work, the boys at school, and the weather miserable.

And then on Tuesday, they cut it open. The keen eye will notice that it is the same guy that we have seen throughout these videos, that cuts the whale. Bjarni Mikkelsen, biologist.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 9.12.18 PM


The keen eye will also notice, that his two-handed, lance-like, whale flensing knife is ripped from his hands as the whale explodes. According to vp.fo, the blast was so powerful that the the flensing knife (/lance) stood in the wall in that yellow house across the flensing plane.

A schoolmate of our youngest witnessed the explosion, them describing to me how it had been not only loud and shocking, but also really, really smelly.

I never got around to seeing the whales; first chance in that area when I drove to and fro work in Tórshavn today, but it was dark both in the morning and the afternoon, and the weather miserable.

International attention:

The Guardian
Daily Star

About Author

Production engineer and certified swim coach. Full-time IT consultant, spare-time swimming aficionado. 2 sons, 2 daughters and a wife. President of the Faroe Islands Swimming Association. Likes to run :-)

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Happy Holidays | Swimmer's Daily

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